BGSU Falcon Flight Team heads to national aviation competition


Representing the nationally ranked aviation program at Bowling Green State University, the Falcon Flight Team will showcase their ground and air skills at the upcoming national competition of the country’s top collegiate pilots.

The BGSU Falcon Flight Team qualified for the National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (SAFECON) competition following the regional competition in the fall. This is the team’s first appearance at the national level since 1997.

BGSU will compete in 10 ground and air events alongside 31 teams from across the U.S. from May 13-18 in Janesville, Wisconsin. The Falcon Flight Team is a student organization comprised of about 25 students. Many are pursuing the flight technology and operations specialization in the aviation studies degree program in the BGSU School of Aviation.

“I’m so proud of our team’s growth this year and their commitment to practicing and fine-tuning their skills and knowledge to perform at a peak level,” said BG Flight Center Chief Flight Instructor Catherine Smith, ‘98, ‘08, also a faculty teaching professor in the School of Aviation. “This is a proud moment for BGSU and our School of Aviation.”

Ranked fourth in the nation by FLYING magazine, the BGSU aviation program is one of the largest in Ohio and the U.S., and BGSU is one of the few universities in the country with an airport on its campus.

Seven new aircraft and three new flight simulators were added to the BGSU fleet in 2023, bolstering the university’s commitment to training students with modern technology.

Responding to workforce needs, BGSU partners with Republic Airways, one of the largest regional airlines in the U.S., to provide students with a faster pathway to a career in aviation.

In addition to placing in six events at regionals, the Falcon Flight Team took home the NIFA Safety Award for the sixth time since 1997.

Smith, who advises the team, said the honor exemplifies the university’s commitment to prioritizing safety.

“The students have to convey how they envision safety and how they live and breathe that culture,” Smith said. “Safety is paramount at BGSU, and it’s evident that our students are taking what we’re teaching them in their flight training and academics and putting it into practice.”

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